Editor’s Note: How Many Friends Do We Need?

Rachel Gogos

Editor’s Note

By Rachel Gogos

How Many Friends Do We Need?

Many of the well-known mega-bloggers and social media gurus used to say that we should “friend” and “follow” every one that followed us back. It was the “right thing to do” in a new social world that didn’t have any norms or easily understood behavior traits.

Fast-forward to September 2011 and many are now singing a different tune. In fact, one of the things making them happy about Google+ is the chance to start over, to be more selective about whom they accept into their online social circles. Chris Brogan recently wrote about his first glimpse of Google+ here and, he also did something else VERY interesting, he “unfollowed” ALL of his Twitter followers and he had into the 6 digit numbers!

Jay Baer of Convince and Convert wrote an excellent post on Tuesday called “Social Media, Pretend Friends, and the Lie of False Intimacy.” Among many important points he makes, he talks about that feeling of knowing our online friends yet missing some of the most important pieces of their lives. Missing that real intimacy that makes a friend, a real friend.

Have we diluted the word “friend?” Is it now just another commodity like oil and coffee? We see it everywhere online and not just on Facebook but on many, many web and blog sites too. Some of us use it as a verb in everyday conversation.

Tools exist to evaluate our “Klout” in the online world, but at the end of the day what really matters? Is it about quality or is it about quantity? And if I have quantity do I necessarily also have real clout?

I’ve always felt that the social mores of social media were very similar to the ones we practice in every day life – choose your friends wisely because someone can tell a lot about you just from the company you keep. The friends we influence most are those that we have meaningful interactions with.

I’m curious, what do you think?

Rachel Gogos is the Chief Brand Builder at brandiD, a digital marketing and web design firm specializing in building unique, attention-getting, online identities through personal branding, social media, and highly differentiated WordPress sites.


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One Response to “Editor’s Note: How Many Friends Do We Need?”

  1. Petra says:

    I totally agree! If you have many contacts in eg LinkedIN who you’ve never met IRL, how big is the chance that this contact will be meaningful? Therefore I keep the 10 min rule: I have to have spoken with someone for at least 10 min before adding. Different story on Twitter but don’t know if the impact in Belgium is already that high….